This is major! As in the first human beings to leave low Earth atmosphere since 1972 major.
Elon Musk announced Monday afternoon that SpaceX plans to launch 2 thrill seeking (and presumably wealthy) tourists into space for a near week long trip to circle the moon. Musk did point out that NASA “always has first priority” and that if they want their astronauts to take the first flight, they have priority.
Musk did not want to comment how how much the tickets for this flight runs, but NASA had been paying Russia up to $80 million per seat for trips on the Souyez rockets.
What was most aggressive about the announcement is that they plan on completing this by the end of 2018. That is an extremely short timeline considering the Falcon Heavy rocket, which will be used for the trip, has not even made it’s first test flight yet. The Dragon craft that will hold the tourists won’t make its demo flight till later this year as well.
The launch is planned for Cape Canaveral, Florida, which is the same launch pad used for the Apollo missions of the 1960’s and 70’s, as opposed to Russian launch sites.
In addition to his responsibilities with Tesla and SpaceX, Musk is also on Trump’s business advisory council. With Trump’s alleged ties with Russia, it will be interesting to see how this plays out on the political landscape as well.
Feature Image credit: SpaceX